He really breaks down out picks and also talks about Kevin Mathis playing some safety. Great interview.http://www.atlantafalcons.com/team/article.jsp?id=11861
Rich McKay: Our fifth pick was (Quinn) Ojinnaka. He was a guy we targeted from the beginning. One thing you do in the draft is you sit there and rate players. You go back and rate them again for scheme-fit. He was a good scheme-fit for us. He comes out of the exact same system we run with very similar terminology that was installed in Syracuse. So, we feel pretty good that he can come in and the learning curve will be not too big. He's our type of lineman in the sense that he's a quick guy with a lot of cut-blocking. He plays all the way through the whistle. The whistle might blow, but he's still going. He'll play right tackle and we'll let him compete there. That is somebody we targeted from the beginning. We thought he was unique to our scheme, and our theory was that he is a guy that he should be there based on the fact that there is maybe 10 of us that say he is the type of tackle you're looking for.
Adam Jennings we picked in the next round. We targeted him from the very beginning as a special teams guy that is capable of doing returns, both kickoff and punt. He'll compete at the fourth receiver's spot. He is the ultra, tough competitive guy. We feel like at the four-hole in our receiver make up, whoever makes it at that spot has got to participate on special teams. We've been very fortunate to have Brian Finneran over the years contribute a lot. Then we drafted Michael Jenkins and unbeknownst to us, he became a very good special teams player. Now, those guys are sitting at the top three and we need some production out of that fourth spot. That's what we drafted him to compete for. If you look at his numbers, you'll like what he did return-wise and you'll like what he did tackle-wise. He's a very tough guy.
Lastly, we drafted D.J. Shockley, who was the quarterback for Georgia. We had him in and worked him out. We liked the kid on the field and liked his story in how he persevered and hung in there. We think he has a chance to compete and think he can grow into being a very solid back up in the League based on his athleticism and arm strength. This year, he got knocked a little bit because for his accuracy, but I think when you look at the big games and the plays he made in those big games, you only need to look at the comeback in the Championship game and the Auburn tape to feel very good about the upside of the kid. He's a double-A character guy that we had an interest in when we were talking about earlier rounds, and we were fortunate to find him in the later round.
Q: Any concern bringing in Shockley as a young quarterback and not having a veteran in the mix for that third slot?
McKay: No, we're out of the veteran mode this year with the respect of the third spot, and the reason being is that Matt Schaub is going into his third year. Before, we had the veteran with the idea that we'd use that veteran to help teach the second and Michael to a certain extent. Plus, with a young guy like Matt, you wanted to make sure the guy was going to be prepared to get into the game if he had to play six games to do it. We're convinced he could do that now. We're not in the veteran mode for the third spot, we're in the young mode in trying to train that person to get as much playing time in the preseason and offseason as we can. So, we'll let Bryan Randall and Shockley take those reps and compete, and then in training camp, you're going to see him a lot.
Q: Shockley having won at Georgia
McKay: He won, and he played really well in really big games when circumstances were not always positive. That is without the breadth of experience that others would have. Yet, he handled the situation extremely well. For us, we liked the athleticism because that is something that is obviously in our offense and we'll incorporate it maybe even more this year. We like that combination. The other thing with the third quarterback this year is a guy that we don't expect, knock on wood, to play one snap this year. So, it's a good developing spot and it gives somebody a chance to learn the NFL game without having to learn it in a bad way, which is having to run on the field. Then, it becomes real difficult.
Q: How did your coaches breakdown his throwing motion?
McKay: I don't think we had any problem with his throwing motion. I think we had some problems with his mechanics. I think they are problems that we felt are very coachable, nothing that was anything major. But, he has some mechanical issues, but every quarterback does because they comfortable with the way they throw it. Then the question becomes one of can you adjust and tinker to make it a little more conventional. I think we are comfortable that we can.
Q: How many quarterbacks did you work out this year?
McKay: I think this year we worked out two. Now our quarterback coach, Bill Musgrave, saw four other maybe. Our coordinator Greg Knapp saw them all at the combine because he runs the combine drills, which is a great thing for us because it gives him a chance to meet the guys up front and personal. It gives him a chance to know them a little bit and see how they handle that pressure because that pressure at the combine is real. Those guys are a little tense at the combine, so it is a good opportunity for him to see them and put his hands on them up close and personal.
Q: Looking towards free agency for safety depth?
McKay: Yes, we will go back and look at our board and see if we need to talk to Kevin (Mathis) about taking some safety reps. We're comfortable that we will be fine there. I wouldn't forclose the fact we could sign a veteran, but that would be in my mind down the road. It would be more towards training camp if it didn't work out in the OTA's and we weren't comfortable with out numbers. We will definitely sign some college free agents tonight that we talked about drafting back in the seventh to get our numbers right for mini-camp. But I think right now our thought would be Kevin and we'll let the college free agents come in and we'll see what we need to do. We also have Omare Lowe, who has definitely played it and last year for us was trained at it. So, we have some options. At defensive end, our fourth end is something that we'll definitely bring another guy in. We got some young guys actually on campus that we kind of like that we'll give them a go, but we'll bring some people in to compete.
Q: What about guard and center?
McKay: Ojinnaka will be a right tackle. I don't think our numbers inside, we may only have room for one more. We've got a bunch of people that we signed at the end of the year, and our practice squad guys. I'm not sure that is number beyond one or two.
Q: What did you think about the shape of the team heading into this year's draft?
McKay: It's unusual. Anytime you are not in the first round, you have the impression from media nationally that you weren't even in the draft. Potentially, you weren't there. We feel good that we had our offseason goal to shore up what we thought were some pretty obvious needs on defense. We were pretty comfortable we could do it, but we thought at the end of the day that at least one or two of those would be shored up today. The best thing we were able to do is that we were able to avoid that. We didn't have to come to the draft to shore up the right end or the safety position. That was very important to us. Then, we were certainly convinced as of three weeks ago that we would be talking about tackle as an absolute need on draft day until we were able to make the Gandy trade because then we were able to relax and get the tackle where we wanted the tackle because the tackle isn't going to play for us this year. So, that helped us. It helped us a lot. As we look at the draft, we like the players. I think you'll like Jerious Norwood. I think you'll like his speed. I think he'll give us a dimension that you haven't seen us have from a pure speed standpoint. I think Jimmy Williams gives us a chance to have a secondary that can do more things than we were able to do last year. Just more versatility. You guys all saw last year when we lost Brady (Smith), we had a couple things happen to us. Number one, we had our pass rush slow down. Number two, it affected our secondary because of that. So, I think we feel good about it. Hopefully in combination, we've tried to help the secondary and we've tried to help the defensive line.
Q: Since arriving to the Falcons, there has been a big overhaul on defense.How do you feel about that?
McKay: Yeah, we were talking about that the other day. I'm a little disappointed that we are in that position. When I did get here, somebody asked if we were rebuilding. Clearly, when you have Michael Vick at quarterback, you have Alge Crumpler, Warrick Dunn and a lot of guys that can make plays, the answer is no, it's not a rebuilding, it's a retooling. Then when you looked at the defense, it did require a little bit more overhaul from a personnel standpoint that fit what we were going to be about and be a 4-3 team, and I would hope when we get to the season that the rebuilding of that unit will be in place. I'm hope we can put the pieces in place. I think we've done it with a combination of youth and veterans. The point of that is not that the personnel was not as good, but it's scheme-change. As soon as your scheme changes, you have guys that truly don't fit. What happens is that will show up over time and it did. So, we tried to find a way to rebuild that side of the ball and I think we've done the right things to get there.